Amateur vampire hunters flocked in large numbers to the cemetery. Several books have been written about the case, notably by Sean Manchester, a local man who was among the first to suggest the existence of the " Highgate Vampire " and who later claimed to have exorcised and destroyed a whole nest of vampires in the area. Local police stated that no such crime had been reported and that the case appears to be an urban legend. In , a physics professor at the University of Central Florida wrote a paper arguing that it is mathematically impossible for vampires to exist, based on geometric progression.
According to the paper, if the first vampire had appeared on 1 January , and it fed once a month which is less often than what is depicted in films and folklore , and every victim turned into a vampire, then within two and a half years the entire human population of the time would have become vampires.
In one of the more notable cases of vampiric entities in the modern age, the chupacabra "goat-sucker" of Puerto Rico and Mexico is said to be a creature that feeds upon the flesh or drinks the blood of domesticated animals , leading some to consider it a kind of vampire. The "chupacabra hysteria" was frequently associated with deep economic and political crises, particularly during the mids. In Europe, where much of the vampire folklore originates, the vampire is usually considered a fictitious being; many communities may have embraced the revenant for economic purposes.
In some cases, especially in small localities, beliefs are still rampant and sightings or claims of vampire attacks occur frequently. In Romania during February , several relatives of Toma Petre feared that he had become a vampire.
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They dug up his corpse, tore out his heart, burned it, and mixed the ashes with water in order to drink it. Vampirism and the vampire lifestyle also represent a relevant part of modern day's occultist movements. An alternative collective noun is a "house" of vampires. Commentators have offered many theories for the origins of vampire beliefs and related mass hysteria. Everything ranging from premature burial to the early ignorance of the body's decomposition cycle after death has been cited as the cause for the belief in vampires.
Paul Barber in his book Vampires, Burial and Death has described that belief in vampires resulted from people of pre-industrial societies attempting to explain the natural, but to them inexplicable, process of death and decomposition. People sometimes suspected vampirism when a cadaver did not look as they thought a normal corpse should when disinterred.
Rates of decomposition vary depending on temperature and soil composition, and many of the signs are little known. This has led vampire hunters to mistakenly conclude that a dead body had not decomposed at all or, ironically, to interpret signs of decomposition as signs of continued life. Corpses swell as gases from decomposition accumulate in the torso and the increased pressure forces blood to ooze from the nose and mouth. This causes the body to look "plump", "well-fed", and "ruddy"—changes that are all the more striking if the person was pale or thin in life.
In the Arnold Paole case , an old woman's exhumed corpse was judged by her neighbours to look more plump and healthy than she had ever looked in life.
Darkening of the skin is also caused by decomposition. This could produce a groan-like sound when the gases moved past the vocal cords, or a sound reminiscent of flatulence when they passed through the anus. The official reporting on the Petar Blagojevich case speaks of "other wild signs which I pass by out of high respect". After death, the skin and gums lose fluids and contract, exposing the roots of the hair, nails, and teeth, even teeth that were concealed in the jaw.
This can produce the illusion that the hair, nails, and teeth have grown.
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At a certain stage, the nails fall off and the skin peels away, as reported in the Blagojevich case—the dermis and nail beds emerging underneath were interpreted as "new skin" and "new nails". It has also been hypothesized that vampire legends were influenced by individuals being buried alive because of shortcomings in the medical knowledge of the time.
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In some cases in which people reported sounds emanating from a specific coffin, it was later dug up and fingernail marks were discovered on the inside from the victim trying to escape. In other cases the person would hit their heads, noses or faces and it would appear that they had been "feeding". An alternate explanation for noise is the bubbling of escaping gases from natural decomposition of bodies. Folkloric vampirism has been associated with clusters of deaths from unidentifiable or mysterious illnesses, usually within the same family or the same small community.
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As with the pneumonic form of bubonic plague , it was associated with breakdown of lung tissue which would cause blood to appear at the lips. In biochemist David Dolphin proposed a link between the rare blood disorder porphyria and vampire folklore. Noting that the condition is treated by intravenous haem , he suggested that the consumption of large amounts of blood may result in haem being transported somehow across the stomach wall and into the bloodstream.
Thus vampires were merely sufferers of porphyria seeking to replace haem and alleviate their symptoms. The theory has been rebuffed medically as suggestions that porphyria sufferers crave the haem in human blood, or that the consumption of blood might ease the symptoms of porphyria, are based on a misunderstanding of the disease. Furthermore, Dolphin was noted to have confused fictional bloodsucking vampires with those of folklore, many of whom were not noted to drink blood.
In any case, Dolphin did not go on to publish his work more widely. Rabies has been linked with vampire folklore. The susceptibility to garlic and light could be due to hypersensitivity, which is a symptom of rabies. The disease can also affect portions of the brain that could lead to disturbance of normal sleep patterns thus becoming nocturnal and hypersexuality. Legend once said a man was not rabid if he could look at his own reflection an allusion to the legend that vampires have no reflection. Wolves and bats , which are often associated with vampires, can be carriers of rabies.
The disease can also lead to a drive to bite others and to a bloody frothing at the mouth. In his treatise On the Nightmare , Welsh psychoanalyst Ernest Jones asserted that vampires are symbolic of several unconscious drives and defence mechanisms. Emotions such as love, guilt, and hate fuel the idea of the return of the dead to the grave. Desiring a reunion with loved ones, mourners may project the idea that the recently dead must in return yearn the same. From this arises the belief that folkloric vampires and revenants visit relatives, particularly their spouses, first.
In cases where there was unconscious guilt associated with the relationship, the wish for reunion may be subverted by anxiety. This may lead to repression , which Sigmund Freud had linked with the development of morbid dread. The sexual aspect may or may not be present.
The innate sexuality of bloodsucking can be seen in its intrinsic connection with cannibalism and folkloric one with incubus -like behaviour. Many legends report various beings draining other fluids from victims, an unconscious association with semen being obvious. Finally Jones notes that when more normal aspects of sexuality are repressed, regressed forms may be expressed, in particular sadism ; he felt that oral sadism is integral in vampiric behaviour.
The reinvention of the vampire myth in the modern era is not without political overtones. In his entry for "Vampires" in the Dictionnaire philosophique , Voltaire notices how the midth century coincided with the decline of the folkloric belief in the existence of vampires but that now "there were stock-jobbers, brokers, and men of business, who sucked the blood of the people in broad daylight; but they were not dead, though corrupted.
These true suckers lived not in cemeteries, but in very agreeable palaces". Marx defined capital as "dead labour which, vampire-like, lives only by sucking living labour, and lives the more, the more labour it sucks". A number of murderers have performed seemingly vampiric rituals upon their victims.
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Similarly, in , an unsolved murder case in Stockholm , Sweden was nicknamed the " Vampire murder ", because of the circumstances of the victim's death. Vampire lifestyle is a term for a contemporary subculture of people, largely within the Goth subculture , who consume the blood of others as a pastime; drawing from the rich recent history of popular culture related to cult symbolism, horror films , the fiction of Anne Rice , and the styles of Victorian England. Although many cultures have stories about them, vampire bats have only recently become an integral part of the traditional vampire lore.
Vampire bats were integrated into vampire folklore after they were discovered on the South American mainland in the 16th century. The three species of vampire bats are all endemic to Latin America, and there is no evidence to suggest that they had any Old World relatives within human memory. It is therefore impossible that the folkloric vampire represents a distorted presentation or memory of the vampire bat. The bats were named after the folkloric vampire rather than vice versa; the Oxford English Dictionary records their folkloric use in English from and the zoological not until The vampire bat's bite is usually not harmful to a person, but the bat has been known to actively feed on humans and large prey such as cattle and often leaves the trademark, two-prong bite mark on its victim's skin.
The literary Dracula transforms into a bat several times in the novel, and vampire bats themselves are mentioned twice in it. The vampire is now a fixture in popular fiction. Such fiction began with 18th-century poetry and continued with 19th-century short stories, the first and most influential of which was John Polidori 's " The Vampyre " , featuring the vampire Lord Ruthven.
The vampire theme continued in penny dreadful serial publications such as Varney the Vampire and culminated in the pre-eminent vampire novel in history: Dracula by Bram Stoker , published in Over time, some attributes now regarded as integral became incorporated into the vampire's profile: fangs and vulnerability to sunlight appeared over the course of the 19th century, with Varney the Vampire and Count Dracula both bearing protruding teeth,  and Murnau's Nosferatu fearing daylight.
Much is made of the price of eternal life, namely the incessant need for blood of former equals.
Byron was also credited with the first prose fiction piece concerned with vampires: "The Vampyre" This was in reality authored by Byron's personal physician, John Polidori , who adapted an enigmatic fragmentary tale of his illustrious patient, " Fragment of a Novel " , also known as "The Burial: A Fragment". The Vampyre was highly successful and the most influential vampire work of the early 19th century. Varney the Vampire was a landmark popular mid- Victorian era gothic horror story by James Malcolm Rymer and Thomas Peckett Prest , which first appeared from to in a series of pamphlets generally referred to as penny dreadfuls because of their inexpensive price and typically gruesome contents.
It has a distinctly suspenseful style, using vivid imagery to describe the horrifying exploits of Varney.
Like Varney before her, the vampire Carmilla is portrayed in a somewhat sympathetic light as the compulsion of her condition is highlighted.